Published on : Friday, November 24, 2017
According to advisory firm Grant Thornton, Western Cape and Cape Town tourism in particular is not likely to be impacted by the water crisis severely. Martin Jansen van Vuuren, Director Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure at Grant Thornton, explains that even though the shortage of water is unquestionably severe, the number of tourists in general as well as total population is likely to be affected much.
“December is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year for the Western Cape – especially for Cape Town – and it would appear that tourists descend on the area in their droves, but once we take a closer look at the numbers, we can gain a better perspective on their impact,” he says.
As per Jansen van Vuuren, Cape Town welcomes roughly 1.5-million foreign tourists every year, with approximately 10% of them (approximately 150,000) visiting the city in December. “For a city with a population of around four million, a 4% increase due to foreign tourists is not really a significant increase,” he adds.
Additionally, he disagrees that tourists normally stays somewhere between 5 to 14 days, with arrivals not getting concentrated during Christmas and New Year only.
What about local tourists, one might ask?
The domestic tourism industry in recent years has developed significantly. A larger number of local visitors around 250,000 have increased to the Western Cape over the festive season.
However, says Jansen van Vuuren, roughly 290,000 Capetonians exit the city over the same period. The effect – on Cape Town is not as severe as it would otherwise have been.
“We have to be reminded that December is also the time when locals – who may spend most of their time in the suburbs otherwise – descend on the tourism areas in greater numbers, either to show visiting friends and family around, or to enjoy the festive season attractions themselves. This leads to congestion in these areas and it also gives the impression that the city is busier than it may actually be.”